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BANQUET OF RAILWAY EMPLOYEES AT ABERKENFIG, SPEECH BY MR. T. J. HUGHES. The annual banquet of the officials and servants of the Great Western Railway Co. (Llynvi and Ogmore Section) was held at the Star Hotel, Aberkenfig, on Monday evening last, A large number of the employees and invited guest were present, and did ample justice to an excellent re- past provided by mine host of the Star. The president of the evening (Mr. Morgan John) was regretfully absent though ill-health. His place was, however, well-filled by Major Thomas, of Hall, who. in apologising for the absence of Mr. John, read a letter from that gentleman, enclosing a cheque for two guineas towards the fund, which was received with cheers. Among the invited guests were Drs. Thomas and Dick. Messrs. T. J. Hughes, W. John. Evan David, J. Hitchings, M. Maloney, J. Telling, kc. After the cloth had been removed, Dr. Thomas (medical officer to the Great Western Railway Provident Society for the dis- trict) took the vice-chair, and the programme of toasts and songs was proceeded with.—The toast of the Queen and Royal Family" having been put from the chair, and drunk with enthusiasm, to the straint of the Xational Anthem, Major Thomas called upon the company to charge their glasses and drink success to the "Great Western Railway Officials and Servants," a call which was responded to con amove, and with musical honours. Coupled with the toast were Mr. Davev and Mr. John Smith.—Mr. Davey, in responding, paid a tribute to the Great Western Railway Co.. and re- ferred to recent privileges accorded to the em- ployees. notably the grant of free leave passes and Sunday pay for servants of all grades and re- ferred feelingly to the loss sustained by the dis- trict through the death of their late respected superintendent. Mr. Routledge.—Mr. Smith re- ferred to his 17 years' experience amongst the men. and testified to his high appreciation of their uniform readiness and capability, and concluded with an earnest expression of goodwill for their welfare. The next toast was that of the Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces," proposed by Dr. Thomas, who referred shortly to the various branches of the ser- vice, and to the pluck and valour that had always been shown in past days by our brave defenders on sea and land.—The toast was responded to with musical honours, the company joining heartily in the refrain of the patriotic song, Red, White, and Bluc.Lieutenant W. John, in responding, urged the young men of the district to join the local volunteer force, so that they might receive the advantages of discipline and mutual intercourse. —Sergeant-Instructor Corr also briefly responded for the Army. The Chairman then submitted the toast of the Clergy and Ministers of all Denominations."— Mr. J. H. Lewis responded, and in a few well- chosen sentences referred to them as the heroes of peace, not less bravo and renowned than the heroes of war who had previously been toasted. The Town and Trade of Aberkenng and Tondu u was next proposed by Mr. John.—Mr. Maloney re- sponded, and in a neat, humorous speech, referred to the recent settlement of the colliers' disagree- ments, and expressed his confident belief that the district was never more healthy from a commercial point of view.—Mr. Hitchings also briefly replied. Mr. David then proposed the toast of The Visitors," coupled with the name of Mr. T. J. Hughes.—The toast having been received with musical honours, Mr. Hughes was called upon to respond.—Mr. Hughes. after expressing on behalf of all the visitors and himself their thanks for the hospitality shewn them, said there were two reasons which induced him to readily accept their kind invitation to be present. First of all. that he might express, however unworthily, the regard he had always felt towards railway employees every- where, but especially in his own district, with whom he so often came into contact; and. secondly, that he might affirm, by his presence and sympathy, the principle to which he had always adhered, that legitimate and proper union and combination of workingmen was both proper and beneficial, and afforded that pro- tection which was necessary for their interest and welfare. Mr. Hughes then proceeded to refer in detail to the enormous growth of the railway system of the county, and to the very large pro- portion of the entire population which was directly and indirectly connected with it. Quot- ing from recent returns, the speaker shewed that the number of persons engaged in the various rail- way systems was no less than 375,000. and adding to these the number of persons dependent upon them as families, and also the large body of men employed at collieries, ironworks, &c., who were mainly dependent for a livilihood on the railway industry, the figures became very striking, and went to prove that about one-sixtieth of tho entire population looked for their bread and cheese from railway organisations.—Some interesting- statistics were then given by Mr. Hughes in proof of the gigantic strides of railway enterprise during the past 40 years, details being given of the mileage number of passengers carried, and total receipts for the last four decades. It was a noteworthy fact for Glamorganshire men, that practically the first railway Act ever passed was that obtained in 1804, for the construction of the Swansea and Oystermouth Railway, and that in the same year a trial trip of Trevethick's patent locomotive was made at Pendarren, Merthyr on which occasion the locomotive carried no less than 10 tons of iron and 70 persons for the enormous distance of nine miles—(laughter)—and this was considered such a marvel that the Swansea Act was at once ob- tained. (Renewed laughter.) The tremendous figures he had quoted could never, continued Mr. Hughes, have been achieved were it not for the steady perseverence shewn, and the good work done, not only by the big wigs," but by the rank and file of railway men. (Applause.) They could not all be top-sawyers," and general managers, but their work was none the less important as going to form a grand and glorious result of what the perhaps dull routine of daily duty could accom- plish. (Loud applause.) After a humorous com- parison of after-dinner speeches and songs, with the youthful powder" well covered with jam, Mr. Hughes concluded by wishing all the railway men present a Happy New Year, and expressed the earnest hope that they might all be spared from accident and sickness throughout the year 1892. and that the visitors might (if the invitation of that evening was repeated) meet them all at the birth of 1S93, under the same happy auspices. (Loud applause.) The remaining toasts were The Press." appro- priately proposed by Mr.- J. W. Edwards, and the Host and Hostess," put from the Chair, and drunk with musical honours. During the evening- some capital songs were rendered by Messrs. Probyn. Wright, J. Mead. Jenkins, Cook. Jones, F. Mead, North. Telling and Smith. Mr. G. Harrington also recited The Charge of the Six Hundred with illuf,h power. Mr. J. H. Lewis (Llew Aber) as accompanist acquitted himself with his usual ability. The arrangements of the committee were ably carried out by the local secretary, assisted by Mr. Trenwith and others, and the proceedings, which were throughout of the heartiest description, did not terminate until a late hour.

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